Work analysis

Work analysis is a systematized procedure of collecting and arranging data about a certain work. It is the first step in the process of forming the selection procedure. In the work analysis there is a terminology confusion, so sometimes there’s talk of workplace analysis, staff duty analysis and similar.

Work analysis is important in the selection because we need to know what specific features of the performer are responsible for a successful performance of a certain work. When we know what these features are, we can measure them. After conducting the work analysis we an get answers to those questions, but also to questions regarding tasks, responsibilities, functions and context in which the job has been done.

Work analysis is the description and list of information about the work and the worker. About what does the worker has to do and how, in what conditions and what are the features, abilities and skills without which the job cannot be performed. Apart from professional selection, work analysis is important in other various processes:

  • Assessing job performance
  • Determining the salary
  • Programming work protection
  • Improving work efficiency
  • Education and professional development

If there is not a documented work analysis in the work organization, in the beginning it is necessary to determine the sample of the main tasks in order for the organization to be successful (according to: Bahtijarević – Šiber: Management ljudskih potencijala) and to start the analysis with these tasks. This shouldn’t be over until we have not finished analyzing all, or at least the majority, of the tasks in a work organization.

Hawthorne effect got its name according to the research conducted in the Hawthorne Works (Western Electric) in Illinois, in the period from 1924 to 1933. The aim of the research was to determine how work efficiency factors which were known and well-researched by then, effect worker productivity. However, research results obtained were unexpected – the test subjects’ behavior and their work efficiency were changed by the very notion they are participating in the experiment, regardless of the variations in the factors of work efficiency!

Data for the analysis can be gathered by various methods. We will list four which are the most used ones. They are:

  1. Method of observing the workers during work
  2. Method of systematic interviews
  3. Method of collecting data via questioners
  4. Method of analyzing the documents available

Method of observing the workers is a simple method, however, it is not recommended for inexperienced observers, because they can overestimate or underestimate some aspects of the work observed. Also, it is probable that the „Hawthorne effect“ will appear. When using this method it is important to get familiar with the work observed, to explain the intentions to the workers, to act discretely, be sensitive to subjectivity when interpreting results, make notes and observe repeatedly.

Method of systematic interviews. Interview is conducted with a worker, but also with people who are his superiors (bosses), HR experts, technologists, his instructors and mentors, that is, with all who are familiar with the work analyzed. The interviews can be individual, group, more or less structured and open.

Method of collecting data via questioners. This method is considered to be the fastest, most efficient and most commonly used method in work analysis. The questioners can consist from question with given answers (closed-ended type of questions) and questions in which the respondent formulates the answers on the specified place (open-ended type).Use is simple and takes the least time in relations to other methods, however, the construction of the questionnaire and the data processing and results interpretation require additional experience and knowledge.

Method of analyzing the documents available. This method refers to the analysis of all documented and available work activities, injuries, treatments and previous analyses.